I finally got to sleep about 2 and was up again at 5. Still annoyed about the racket earlier I decided to make a brew and generally bang around listening to music. Didn't hear a peep out of them though.
There was a frost on the tent and my boots were very cold. It was nice to get into the car, the heater warming up my feet as drove through Glencoe in darkness listening to Duncan Chisolm. His Strathfarrar trilogy has been the soundtrack to many of my photographic trips, it's beautiful music - haunting and atmospheric and so evocative of the Scottish landscape.
As the sky brightended, I drove round to the Buachaille Etive Mor viewpoint. You know the one…its on millions of postcards and calendars and offers an iconic view of probably Scotlands most distinctive and best loved mountains. It is a fantastic viewpoint, and (as usual!) there were a group of photographers, crouched over their tripods waiting for the sunrise. They’d even camped out next to it! I wandered up the riverside, looking for an alternative foreground as I've shot this scene a few times - never to my satisfaction - probably because my friend Andy Hall has shot the definitive Buachaille Etive Mor scene in my opinion when making his Sense of Belonging to Scotland book. If you haven't seen his work, I urge you to check out his website.
I was trying to find a foreground which had some kind of shape relationship with the peak itself. The closest I came to it was an inverted pyramid formed by the rocks. Not exactly what I’d hoped for, in fact it was rubbish. The sun was coming up now and the granite peak was turning a brilliant shade of red. I made a few more images, one looking towards Creise (usually overshadowed by its more photogenic neighbour) and another looking back to Buachaille Etive Mor with the sun picking out the frosty foreground of grasses.
By this time the sun was fully up and I headed to the woodlands along Glen Etive. I have sketched out a drawing for each of the scenes I want to illustrate in the book and managed to make an image, to reflect one of these. I may reshoot this one though – a bit of mist would be nice. Even just a touch of grey cloud in the sky. The weather was almost too good on this trip – clear skies pretty much all the time.
After a while I started to get really tired, and decided to just stop rushing about and enjoy the sun. It's important on trips like these to just stop for a bit and appreciate the scenery without trying to make an image..couldn't help myself making this image of the Wee Buachaille though! I decided to drive back to the tent and move it to a quieter area of the campsite. The kids had all gone by this time so I didn't even have the chance to make a big song and dance about moving my tent.
I was still keen to make some images along Loch Leven so I headed back up and scouted out a few locations. It's a stunning area, the almost fjord-like loch snaking between the grey peaks of the Mamores and the Aonach Eagach. I wandered along the birch woods which cling to the edge of the hill, hanging over the Loch. I felt lazy and listless, not really in the mood for photos and spent most of the afternoon just ambling along. It was good.
Had a walk up to the Grey Mares Tail waterfall, looks like there is some sort of via ferratta thingy alongside it so I decided to have a go. No harness or ropes though…got a wee bit up it and clambered over the river on a wire before realising I was on my own and possibly an idiot and I should probably get off it.
By this time it was getting on a bit and there were finally some clouds in the sky. Yes! Clouds! I was excited about clouds! I had a plan for a sunset shot looking over Loch Linhe to Ardgour and hoped for some clouds to pick up the sun. as it disappeared. I wandered the fields above the shoreline - drawn to the "S" shape in the water. I love patterns and lines in the landscape and an S is always a good find.
The sunset didn't disappoint - it was one of the best sunsets I've seen - fiery shades of pink fading into deep inky blues with the lonely serrated mountains of Ardgour silhouetted on the skyline. Perfect!
By this time I was starving - I don't think I'd eaten (other than porridge and junk food) all day so I went to to the new Glencoe Gathering. If you're up in Glencoe make sure you stop in for a fish supper - they are very, very good, and I eat a lot of fish suppers!